“So, what did you think?” I asked in a voice feigning confidence. The man sitting across from me didn’t answer at first. He folded his hands together atop his desk and leaned forward. The little give of his comb-over fell as he tilted his head from one side to the other in contemplation.
“Hmm…” he hummed to himself, his brown eyes looking down at the oak wood top. Out of everything in his rather sizeable office, the desk stood out the most. Its craftsmanship was nothing like the other artifacts around the room. Congratulatory gifts of past winnings given to him by his clients and their families alike. Not long ago, I’d dreamed of having an office just like it.
As he drew out the time he took to respond, I felt my unease growing. My hands couldn’t stop fiddling with whatever they found in them: a pencil, sheet of paper, or even cloth from my skirt. To distract myself, I trained my eyes on the clock, watching the seconds hand tick away. Without a word, he pulled out a file from the cabinet beside his desk.
Before I could inquire, he started to say, “Bianca, you’ve been with us the longest so far.” He adjusted his tie, and my eyes shot back up to give him my full attention. “You know with a new firm like this, interns tend to drop like flies. The first few months are chaos, but somehow… You’ve managed to make it a little easier.”
“Thank you, sir!” A small smile worked its way onto my face. However, in the back of my mind, I couldn’t help wondering if it might be the moment that I’d been waiting for.
He nodded in acknowledgment and put a finger on the folder. “That’s why out of everyone—anyone—here I think you deserve this case the most. Have a look.”
Oh my God! My smile grew wider and wider as I opened the file and looked through the documents. Naturally, my eyes searched for information that’d already been gathered around the case, but something else caught my eye. The photo attached at the top stole away whatever thirst I had for information in an instant.
His icy blue eyes lured me in, but the captivating smile on his face kept me there. Jet black hair kept neatly combed atop his head to accentuate his lightly tanned skin. Something about the look in them stirred me. It went deeper than a shiver but took me out of reality for a few seconds. This can’t be my client… I thought, lost in his smile. His tailor-made suit looked amazing on him, hugging every inch of him as he hosted what looked like a corporate event.
“That would be Mister Dustin Baldwin. Even if you haven’t heard of him by name, you’ve undoubtedly noticed his…influence.” I came back into reality, latching onto my boss’s words. My eyes scanned the documents as he spoke. “The self-made billionaire is young, daring and full of vigor. I know the type pretty well, but along with that knowledge, I know they have a tendency to get into trouble.”
“What sort?” I asked.
“Money laundering,” he replied just as I read the words myself on the next page.
“That’s it?” I asked, my head slightly tilted.
“Oh, don’t worry. It’s never as simple as that. Just because we’ve uncovered one part, there’s usually a lot beneath it. It’s our job to gather some more information so that we can present the case appropriately.” He pulled out another file that was bright red in color. “Unfortunately, I don’t think things will be easy. The prosecution seems to have it out for Baldwin as so far, he’s kept his record squeaky clean. There’s nothing they love more than tarnishing a record.”
“Sir, are you certain that you want me to…?” I had to ask even if I feared the response.
“I couldn’t ask anyone else, Reed. You’re the only one here I can count on for this case. There’s just one last thing I’d like to ask you before it’s officially assigned.”
“What’s that, sir?”
“How would you feel about traveling?” There was concern underlying his words, but I could hardly tell through my excitement.
It took everything in me not to immediately blurt out how happy I was. Instead, I took a deep breath and replied, “I don’t think that’ll be a problem at all. Where am I going?”
“Mister Baldwin is in Brazil currently. He’s taken an official leave from the city for a while to relax. Whereas in reality he’s most likely trying to avoid the media and any mention of the case altogether. He’s only willing to tolerate the case if it means talking to his lawyer. Someone that’ll get him out of the scrape.”
Brazil?! There’s no way this can be happening! It’s like a dream come true! Someone pinch me. Wait a minute… “But sir, I’m not a lawyer, I’m only an intern?”
“I need you to be a decoy. You are the best intern we have and are great with research. There is a lot going on here that we just can’t see. I need you to present yourself as his lawyer to gain access and gather information for us. You think you can pull it off, Reed?”
“I’m more than sure that I can, sir. I’m glad to take the case.”
“Then it’s decided. You’ll need to get packing and soon. You’re getting shipped off in a few days, I was thinking Saturday. That sound good?”
“Sounds great. I just need to find someone to take care of my cat and… Wait, how long am I supposed to be gone?”
“If I recall you return flight should be in a month. That should give you enough time to gather more information. Don’t forget anything, every last bit you can find counts. You understand?”
“Yeah, I understand. Thank you so much for this opportunity. You don’t know how much this means to me!”
“It should go without saying, but honestly you need to thank yourself. You put in so much hard work. If I went on to ignore it, I really would’ve been a fool, eh?” He chuckled to himself a little and leaned back. “Good luck, Reed.”